Remember last month’s Trumpcare bill (wealth care sold as health care), my calculation of how it would at an absolute minimum have killed 13,500 people by next year, and how – among massive public protests – it was defeated?
Do you also remember that our protests were not so much the reason it failed, but that the real reason was the super-corporatist “Freedom Caucus” within the Republican Gang which refused to toe the party line because Trumpcare was simply not cruel and murderous enough for them?
Remember the warnings that the goons would be back with a renewed attack on our healthcare?
Well, they are! A deal has apparently just been brokered between House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.)
The new plan is more devious than the old. It’s designed to give the Freedom Caucus the elimination of pre-existing conditions protection they want, but at the same time give the so-called moderate Republicans (whose constituencies want this protection to stay in place) an excuse with which to justify the plan to their voters: namely so-called “high-risk pools” of funds that are supposed to help those most sick among us who can’t afford the jacked-up insurance premiums for their no longer protected pre-existing conditions. The thing to consider here is: would those pools help enough? In the past, when this has been tried, they never did help enough. Quite frankly, when you don’t help people enough to stay alive, they die! It’s no different from not them helping at all!
Furthermore, as to how much people would be in danger of being priced out of healthcare and having those notoriously insufficient high-risk pools as their last resort, we are well advised to listen to Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt who said: “No insurance company will want to cover people with expensive health conditions if they don’t have to, so they will set premiums to make sure the coverage is out of reach. Health care costs are highly concentrated among a small number of people who are sick, and they would find it impossible to get affordable coverage.”
Bingo! With this new plan, the old game of the insurance industry will be back: Milk you for premiums while you’re healthy. Then, when you get badly ill, either outright deny care or price you out of it. You die, and they ride off into the sunset with the money they looted from you in your healthy years. Your heirs can look longingly at the insurance CEOs and shareholders framed in the beautiful sunset.
Remember, please, that our system of constantly changing insurance plans with constantly changing employment conditions makes EVERY lasting condition “pre-existing” before long! So, “pre-existing conditions” are the insurance shysters’ favorite trump card… or should I say Trump card?
Another trick to make this heinous plan look more palatable is the old sleight of hand called state rights: rather than saying yay or nay in the federal bill itself, it would just leave it to the states to decide whether they want to protect pre-existing conditions. The same game would be played with Essential Health Benefits (like emergency room visits). The corporate shills talking to you as state governors and the like can simply yammer how your state lacks the necessary funds or the insurance companies are leaving it like rats leaving a sinking ship, and you may grudgingly give them a pass. Think about it: with federally insured universal healthcare (like Medicare for All) no private insurers could blackmail or abandon us. We need to get clear on what to ask for!
To make matters worse, the new GOP plan would keep in place the old Trump-Ryan-Care plan’s phase-out of the Medicaid expansion, which would result in 14 million fewer people on Medicaid, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This, and raising the cap on how much insurers can charge seniors, is a silver lining at least, since this attack might continue to be obvious and offensive enough for lots of people to react with renewed outrage and thereby intimidate enough “moderate” parliamentarians to shy away from signing it. Well, one can hope… But you have been warned. The goons may succeed this time in slashing our already horrible health coverage to be even worse: returning it to the pre-Obamacare lack of protections, but probably with the post-Obamacare risen prices in place. Before long, only the rich will be able to afford any health care beyond minimal checkups and procedures.
Pulling the wool over our eyes, is not the only way the Congressional gangsters can succeed. They can also simply exhaust us. How much longer can we protest against the same thing before fatigue (and the need to hold down our jobs) gets the better of us? Or, if we let our guard down, they could simply sneak the bill through while we aren’t watching. I think we must be prepared for a long struggle and aim high, so high that the hope for a much, much better world — not merely the kind of healthcare coverage all our peer nations have had since forever (and which we could quickly have, too, by declaring Medicare for All) — will carry us through. Imagine a world (or at least a United States of America) where we can live without constant fear and oppression, enjoying instead medically protected life, liberty, justice, and a pursuit of happiness. Odd ideas, I know, but somewhere I have heard them before.
Yes, we could build a so much better country, one that matches the pretty picture so often painted by Hollywood. First we will have to remove the obstruction of corporatist corruption, though, especially money in politics. (You can read this article to get an idea of where we stand in this struggle at the moment, if you haven’t already.)
This latest attack is all part of the pattern of the last thirty-some years of taking from the middle and lower classes and giving to the rich. To stop this and then be able to build a better country and world, it really is time we drive money out of politics. Let’s get busy!
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Some related posts from last month you might be interested in: